Mother Nature is a powerful source of reflection. Exposure to her, especially in the winter months, will show you aspects of yourself that possibly have never been revealed to you.
Resolutions are often forgotten a few days or weeks after the New Year begins. More people used to sign up for gym memberships or yoga classes in January, than any other time of the year. Of course, with lockdown, these establishments are all closed or online, so we have to get creative if we want to get out of the house.
Our winter workout options are walking, snowshoeing, X-country skiing, skating, tobogganing, and maybe a couple of other activities like bicycling if there isn’t a lot of snow. For some folks, these are not options. What if they aren’t athletic or maybe they are now a grandmother and are more afraid of hurting themselves than having fun?
Almost everyone can do this. Go outside. It doesn’t matter what you outside do as long as you are in nature, breathing fresh air, looking up, admiring the beauty, and most importantly, get COLD. We live in a comfortable world where we are hot in the winter and cool in the summer. I think they refer to it as “Climate Control”. As if.
The winter months are the perfect time to practice getting cold and then getting warm again. So try going outside without your coat on and you'll get a workout. It’s a vascular workout (especially if you go barefoot too!) and it will strengthen the “smooth muscles” that are located and are composed of the majority of the wall of your blood vessels. When these vessels respond to cold they will change in diameter. Your body knows you don't need your hands or arms to live but you need your major organs. When you are out in the cold, the blood vessels will vasoconstrict and send that warm blood to the organs. When it is sure that the organs are warm, the blood vessels will vasodilate to allow warm blood back to the hands and arms. This is effectively a smooth muscle workout. Over time my smooth muscles have become more efficient at managing warm blood and I can stay outside in the winter for long periods of time without a coat. If you do a Polar Dip or an ice-cold plunge Wim Hof style, these muscles will get a huge workout, but you have all winter to build to that. Start simply. Go outside without your coat on and get cold.
To give you a sense of how many muscles you have, if your vascular system was lined it up. it would go around the world at least 2 times. There are a lot of smooth muscles that need a workout and when they get stronger, you will feel stronger without having lifted a single dumbbell!
It makes me wonder if Mother Nature is beyond excited that there is a possibility more of us will go outside and then she can do her work to reconnect with us and help us to be more adaptable to life and therefore, healthier.
Soul to sole,